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Lord Martin

Reconciling Northern Myths: Last Hero is Night's King

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Something has been niggling at me in in Northern Myths of the Last Hero and the Night's King.

We are told that Knight's King was the 13th LC of the NW. We are also told that the Last Hero set out with 12 companions, thus making him the 13th member of his party. I have a very hard time believing that this is a coincidence. But is there a way to reconcile the tales?

If the Last Hero and Night's King are the same people, it implies that the 13 companions that set out to find the COTF were the original Night's Watch. Which got me thinking, which is older, the Wall or the Night's Watch? I would have to think the Watch is older simply because it makes more sense to have an army first then build a wall.

So what happened to the Last Hero to turn him into the Night's King. Here is Nan's account of the Last Hero if you need it:

"The Others," Old Nan agreed. "Thousands and thousands of years ago, a winter fell that was cold and hard and endless beyond all memory of man. There came a night that lasted a generation, and kings shivered and died in their castles even as the swineherds in their hovels. Women smothered their children rather than see them starve, and cried, and felt their tears freeze on their cheeks." Her voice and her needles fell silent, and she glanced up at Bran with pale, filmy eyes and asked, "So, child. This is the sort of story you like?"

"Well," Bran said reluctantly, "yes, only . . . "

Old Nan nodded. "In that darkness, the Others came for the first time," she said as her needles went click click click. "They were cold things, dead things, that hated iron and fire and the touch of the sun, and every creature with hot blood in its veins. They swept over holdfasts and cities and kingdoms, felled heroes and armies by the score, riding their pale dead horses and leading hosts of the slain. All the swords of men could not stay their advance, and even maidens and suckling babes found no pity in them. They hunted the maids through frozen forests, and fed their dead servants on the flesh of human children."


Her voice had dropped very low, almost to a whisper, and Bran found himself leaning forward to listen.


"Now these were the days before the Andals came, and long before the women fled across the narrow sea from the cities of the Rhoyne, and the hundred kingdoms of those times were the kingdoms of the First Men, who had taken these lands from the children of the forest. Yet here and there in the fastness of the woods the children still lived in their wooden cities and hollow hills, and the faces in the trees kept watch. So as cold and death filled the earth, the last hero determined to seek out the children, in the hopes that their ancient magics could win back what the armies of men had lost. He set out into the dead lands with a sword, a horse, a dog, and a dozen companions. For years he searched, until he despaired of ever finding the children of the forest in their secret cities. One by one his friends died, and his horse, and finally even his dog, and his sword froze so hard the blade snapped when he tried to use it. And the Others smelled the hot blood in him, and came silent on his trail, stalking him with packs of pale white spiders big as hounds - "

Conventional wisdom has it that the COTF saved the Last Hero and helped fight off The Others leading to the establishment of the North as we know it. With GRRM conventional wisdom is seldom correct.

But if the COTF didn't save the LH, then what happened? How did he survive? Has anyone else ever been able to ward off the Others or find a way to co-exist with them? Craster, that incestuous bastard found a way, as we know, he sacrifices his sons to the Others.

I theorize that the Last Hero did the same thing. He pleaded for his life promising the Others whatever they wanted which in this case, was his sons. And so the Others marked the LH as they marked Craster, those with great sense can smell the mark of the Others and it smells cold.


So long as he gives us a hot meal and a chance to dry our cloths, I'll be Happy. Dywen said Craster was a kinslayer and a iar, raper and craven and hinted that he traffiked with slavers and demons. "And worse, " the old forester would add, clacking his wooden teeth. "There's a cold smell to that one, there is."

The Last Hero then went back to the kingdoms of men raising up more men for the Night's Watch claiming that he had the ability to resist the Others. He fathered children and stealthily sacrificed them to the Others which brings him squarely in line with the tale of Night's King:


He brought her back to the Nightfort and proclaimed her a queen and himself her king, and with strange sorceries he bound his Sworn Brothers to his will. For thirteen years they had ruled, Night's King and his corpse queen, till finally the Stark of Winterfell and Joramun of the wildlings had joined to free the Watch from bondage. After his fall, when it was found he had been sacrificing to the Others, all records of Night's King had been destroyed, his very name forbidden.

And note that the "Last Hero" is never given a name. Nan never says he is Brandon Stark, but she does say that the Night's King was perhaps a Brandon Stark.

So the Last Hero goes on publicly fighting the Others while secretly sacrificing to them. He builds the Nightfort where he can walk the line between the Others and human kind.

As for the rest of the Night's King tale, it is not as evil as it seems. The Last Hero did meet a female Other and they fell in love and had a son for we know the Knight's King gave his Other-bride his "seed and soul." Perhaps they named their son, Brandon after his father and "Stark" after the winter he was born into or his mother's nature. The Last Hero and his Other bride loved their son and refused to sacrifice him. Or perhaps the Others only wanted pure human children, not half-human/half Other. So the Last Hero spirited him away from the Night Fort to find a place to keep him safe.

It would be here that the Last Hero finds the hot springs that Winterfell is built upon. Presumably the Others would not do well with hot water, so it was a perfect place to build a castle to keep his son safe. The Last Hero calls upon another great King from the far north, Joramun "who blew the horn of winter and woke giants from the earth." The giants came to help the Last Hero and his son Brandon the Builder construct a mighty castle over the springs so that the work could be done quickly. Fittingly they named the castle Winterfell because of the hopes that Winter will fall to the newly established House Stark.

The Last Hero then tells his son Brandon the truth about who he is and the deal the Last Hero made with the Others. Brandon Stark being half human, half Other had some of their magical powers. The Others are able to animate the flesh of their wights and control them. This is where the Stark warging trait comes from. Since the Stark bloodline has part of the Other's blood in it, they have the ability to control the bodies of others.

Before returning to the Night Fort, the Last Hero told his son, there must always be a Stark in Winterfell for he understood that his bloodline would always have the power to fight off the Others.

And so the Last Hero returned to his bride at the Night Fort. The Others would have been livid with the Last Hero for his betrayal, killed him and re-animated his dead flesh. This is where he became the corrupt Night's King of legend and the Others, through the Night's King caused the Watch to turn on the realms of men.

Bran the Builder understood what was happening. So he called other kings, like Joramun for help. Together they destroyed the Night's King and with the help of Joramum's giants and his own ice magic, Brandon the Builder he completed the Wall. And Brandon the Builder was not considered a kin-slayer like Bael the Bard's son because his father was already dead.

With the completion of the Wall and the destruction of Night's King, the Watch was free to fight for the humans again. For those that believe the NW=Lightbringer, it could be that Brandon the Builder "weilded" the Night's Watch in this battle. Or perhaps he named the 14th LC of the NW, a man named Azor Ahai. But in any case, human kind was finally able to beat back the Others and end the Long Night that lasted a generation.

So what do you think? Could the Last Hero and the Night's King be the same person?

One variant on this that I liked was this post by Han Snow:

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/104303-blood-and-origin-of-house-stark/

I like the notion that the COTF are intermarried in here somewhere, but I haven't figured out a way to incorporate it that isn't overly complex.

Would love thoughts on this.

Edit:

I updated this theory a little bit here: http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/104473-reconciling-northern-myths-last-hero-is-nights-king/?p=5728632

its post 59 I think.

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Wow! Very well done... I believe a lot of what your saying has valid points. The last hero and the night king might be the same person. The Westeros history is so scrambled and jumbled, you out the pieces together almost perfectly. I would leave out the AA part because I truly think he happened in Assahi and the legends crossed over the years.

Over all "2 thumbs up"

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^ Yeah, I cannot for the life of me figure out how the Azor Ahai stuff overlaps with Northern Myths.



I have some ideas but it involves a whole lot of meta-analysis of the similarities and differences between ice and fire.



Thanks for checking it out!


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I put together the last hero and the night king might have something to do with each other. The 13th LC for 13 years and the last hero being the 13th companion is to similar for just coincidence. I really like the idea of the last hero never finding the CotF but What if the NK was on of the last heros companions or one of his companion eventually found the CotF, or maybe the CotF came out of the woods to help stop the last hero/night king. What if the last heroes son bran the builder found help from the CotF to defeat his father and build the wall? Just some thoughts....

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Idk about the specifics but in general certainly possible that they are the same nameless person.

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^ Yeah, I cannot for the life of me figure out how the Azor Ahai stuff overlaps with Northern Myths.

I have some ideas but it involves a whole lot of meta-analysis of the similarities and differences between ice and fire.

Thanks for checking it out!

Have you heard of Jungian Archetypes? Look it up on google. I think a very similar myth came out of Asshai, about AA, with out ever contacting Westeros. A universal consciousness.

I just thinks is something george would know about and incorporate in is writing.

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Have you heard of Jungian Archetypes? Look it up on google. I think a very similar myth came out of Asshai, about AA, with out ever contacting Westeros. A universal consciousness.

I just thinks is something george would know about and incorporate in is writing.

Yes and I agree he certainly incorporated them.

I also think he overlayed a concept of "duality" or "dualism" i.e. "ice and fire." I am currently working on some long posts elaborating on that duality overlay. But some examples are: Obsidian vs. weirwood; sacrifice vs. murder; east vs. west; male vs. female.

In short, I think the Azor Ahai myth is a militarized version of what really happened. I really like the idea of a sacrifice to end the Long Winter which was co-opted over time and distance to result in the Azor Ahai story of a war like victory over the Others rather than a victory based on self sacrifice.

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The Stark that defeated the Night King was his brother not his son...



Besides that I like a lot of what you said especially the idea that Night's watch may have been around before the wall.

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The Stark that defeated the Night King was his brother not his son...

Besides that I like a lot of what you said especially the idea that Night's watch may have been around before the wall.

I wonder if this is one of the errors perpetuated over time.

A variant on this theory could be that the Last Hero and Brandon the Builder were brothers... there's probably a way to work Joramun in there as well.

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Literally thought of this last night:

Alright, this may have been said but Id be surprised and you may kill it with your vastly superior knowledge but:

The Nights King is the 13th LC of the NW

What if they didnt start at 1?

The Last Hero set off with 12 companions and it is said that the original members of the Nights Watch fought the Battle for the Dawn.

So what if the Nights Watch had 13 original members, one of whom is the Last Hero?

As a tribute to his fallen 12 companions, the Last Hero officially founded the NW and started counting at Lord Commander #13.

This would make the Last Hero the Nights King.

If the Last Hero did indeed contact the CotF and had all the means to survive while his companions died, perhaps he was quite the special individual....but able to succumb to basic human impulses just as well.

Cliff Notes:

Last Hero founds the NW

Names himself the 13th LC to honor his 12 lost companions

The Nights King is the Last Hero

ETA: my knowledge of timelines is definitely suspect and this literally just popped into my head so I ran with it :)

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I had a similar idea a while back. I don't recall where I posted it, but the gist of it was that the story of the LH doesn't make much sense. All of his companions are dead, his sword is broken ... but somehow everything just works out. Really?



I then hypothesized that the forging of the pact with the CotF and the story of the Night's King were meant to tell us how the War for the Dawn actually ended; i.e., not with a clear victory for humans, but with a marriage pact between humans and Others. And that the symbol of this marriage pact was a very special and unique sword.



“And now it begins,” said Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. He unsheathed Dawn and held it with both hands. The blade was pale as milkglass, alive with light.
- AGoT, Eddard X (ToJ)


The Other slid forward on silent feet. In its hand was a longsword like none that Will had ever seen. No human metal had gone into the forging of that blade. It was alive with moonlight, translucent, a shard of crystal so thin that it seemed almost to vanish when seen edge-on. There was a faint blue shimmer to the thing, a ghost-light that played around its edges, and somehow Will knew it was sharper than any razor.
- AGoT, Prologue


Of course GRRM does like to use the phrase "alive with light" so it could be a false positive. That said, Dawn is a unique sword in the realms of men.


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I like this addition, nice spot.

I also like the idea of subverting the stories. The Last Hero is supposed to be a genesis tale off House a Stark while Night's King is supposed to be a tale of unholy sacrifice. But what if that was reversed? Same for the point by J Starg, I think there is some subversion and conflation in these tales.

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Definitely agreed, I thought that the last hero might have been with Azor Ahai during the long night, and maybe after the others retreated and the war for the dawn was won they followed the others into the far north, with only the Last hero returning as the Nights King or somehow being against humanity. I do definitely think that during the original long night the last hero and azor ahai were two different people, and that the whole "Ptwp prophecy" is just a product of the Targs having people like the woodswitch who told them that their lineage would produce Azor Ahai reborn.



To @jstargaryens point while I disagree with an actual marriage pact taking place I do think there's something fishy about "there must always be a stark in winterfell."



Also I agree with you that Dawn may very well be the sword of an Other or something to that effect, even though many believe it to be the original lightbringer. While the coloring of the sword is enough to make me suspicious, I could see the "war for the dawn" to be in reference to a prominent Other and the need to defeat him and his sword dawn


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